Big Van Vader’s inclusion in the WWE Hall of Fame is long overdue


The WWE Hall of Fame is a part of WrestleMania weekend that is an opportunity to reward and pay respect to the men and women that contributed to professional wrestling. While everyone’s favorites aren’t recognized, there are still moments when additions come with a smile. Big Van Vader or Vader for short is going into the Hall of Fame at WrestleMania 38 as a posthumous recognition. Few will argue that he should have been in the HOF years ago, as he was a performer that was exceptionally talented and well before his time.

Vader was one of those performers that checked the proverbial box of professional wrestling. He was one of the first in a rare group of big men that wasn’t a plodding figure stuck on his feet. He, along with others like Bam Bam Bigelow, was known for being able to pick up the pace in their matches and even take to the sky when needed. For today’s wrestling fans, think along with the likes of a Keith Lee who mixes in power with the occasional elegance of a high-flyer, Vader was that guy.

Plus, he could scare the crap out of any kid in the crowd with ease. Vader’s ring entrance including walking to the ring with a mastodon helmet that sprayed steam while one of the iconic theme songs of his day blasted from the speakers. Vader’s music and presence back then is very akin to Brock Lesnar’s presence now, even if the booking strength between the two is quite different.

Vader found success wherever he performed. He is still one of eight non-Japanese men to carry the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, becoming the first American to do so when he picked that belt up back in 1989. He held the title for 374 days during his second run. From there he would win titles in CWA, AJPW, and WCW. Unfortunately, a run at the top of the WWE was just out of his grasp, even though he was booked as a monster heel during his run with the company.

Vader’s passing in 2018 was a sad story to watch, as he often took to social media to reveal more information about his deteriorating state. At one point he even expressed his desire to be inducted into the Hall of Fame while he was still alive, but it did not happen.

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Big Van Vader’s inclusion in the WWE Hall of Fame will be hit with a lot of “it should have already happened,” which is 100 percent correct. But it’s also an opportunity to show appreciation to one of the best big man performers this industry has ever witnessed.